Over 50 people, dressed in all black, gathered on Wednesday to lament the decisions made at synod revolving around the human sexuality report. Several held cardboard letters spelling the word "lament."
John Chapin, is a member of the board of All One Body, a group founded 12 years ago that “promotes unrestricted participation in all areas of church life by all members who confess Christ as Savior and Lord, whether single or partnered, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.”
At the lamenting gathering, he told The Banner, "We cannot welcome people into the church if the doors are locked." He said the decisions of synod "illuminate the exit sign on the church for many of us."
Chapin said more local churches need to raise their voices against what he calls "the top-down manner" in which synod imposed pronouncements, particularly the decision about instructing Neland Avenue CRC to rescind its decision to ordain a deacon in a same-sex marriage. "It's not historically how the CRC has operated," Chapin said.
Ruth Boven, a pastor recently retired from LaGrave Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., who previously served at Neland Avenue CRC, said she came "just to lament decisions that are proving to be very divisive." She said she watched some of the proceedings on the webcast but couldn't watch very much, finding them "very sad, heart-wrenching, and painful."
Boven told The Banner she doesn’t know what comes next. She paused and continued, “Trusting the Spirit to lead."
Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod.